Thursday, August 27, 2015


*Reprint from 2011...Praying for unity in Christ as we walk into this day.

The word 'divided' has been rolling around in my head lately. Divide, pull apart, separate from a single purpose....sounds a bit violent and meant to harm and I guess it is.

Now I'm pretty good at division, not as good as I am at multiplication, but pretty good all the same. I like the way numbers work with each other and how you can half them into fractions...but people don't quite work the same way. If you divide a person, you pretty much destroy him. Same thing for families. Once a family is divided, it's never quite the same.

Yet we have an enemy bent on dividing us. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy specifically comes to steal, kill and destroy.

The division also gets me to thinking about the recent earthquakes that caught us all off guard. People who thought they were perfectly safe were sitting right on top of a fault line - a crack in the very bedrock of their lives! It didn't take long for people to feel the "shaking" for miles around as the division started to make itself known.

At our house, the enemy usually shows up at the least opportune this surprises me? I mean, he's not going to show up when I'm armed and loaded for bear! He comes when my guard is down...when I think I can just get some R&R on the weekend. I keep forgetting I am in a battle zone and have not yet reached the safety of my real home. Here the enemy can strike at any time.

It starts small...a few cross words toward a brother or sister. Then it escalates...the cross words pass between husband and wife. Next thing you know, there is a fault line - a small crack in the foundation that can be use to divide. Oh, we usually are quick to point out that the "fault" line is due to the other person, but we really have to admit that we are part of the divide.

Now, rock is pretty difficult to split. You can split it with a huge force, but a far more subtle separator is ice. A little water fills the crack and when it freezes, it pushes the rock apart. In families, harsh words and hurt feelings cause the crack. Then un-forgiveness fills in the crack like slowly seeping water. Next thing you know, things cool off and ice forms in that fault. You may think things are now okay, but that cool silence hides that the freeze is widening the gap. Then things heat up again and before you know it, the "crack" is splitting wide open. The enemy has divided again - he has destroyed.

This divide happens not just in families, but in almost every part of our lives. We pick apart our children's teachers and then wonder why they don't learn from them. We pick apart the church and then wonder why it doesn't seem to feel like a place where we receive anymore. We pick apart our bosses or coworkers and then wonder why we can't seem to make progress at work. The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy - but he starts the process with a divide.

Ecclesiastes 4:22 -"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

It's time we stopped dividing and started working harder to pull together. I still believe that even though times seems to be getting more and more difficult, we are getting closer to a turnaround. I was told by someone I'm must be referring to something spiritual because they did not see any good news up ahead....but I find that where the Spirit is, there is victory. I expect to see that victory in both the spiritual and the physical world around me. In the meantime, it's up to me to make sure I don't allow the enemy to seep in and cause a fault line that can be used to divide. I don't want to have earthquakes messing with my about you?

Friday, August 21, 2015

He's got this...

This is a post from a few years back, but it recently came back to mind. I don't know what you might be facing, but it helps to remember that our Father has got this....

Don't you just love the words, "I got this"? I heard my husband today at lunch say those words to my daughter and her friend. They wanted to leave the church without waiting for us and we'd meet up at the Chinese restaurant. Before we could get there, she called wondering what to do. Her dad said simply, "Go in and eat. When the bill comes, I will take care of it. You don't worry. We're on our way."

Now this would speak volumes all by itself, but when coupled with what God had spoken to my heart that very morning it echoed through my soul!

This has been a difficult weekend. Anyone who has teenagers knows those kinds of weekends tend to sneak up on you and give you a good swift punch in the stomach leaving you gasping for air and wondering what happened. Still, in the midst of it all, I knew God was in control....and I prayed.

This morning during my prayers for "my family" I heard that unmistakeable voice of God..."Whose family?" Just two words but it re-aligned my prayers and I said, "I know God...they're not mine. They are yours. We are yours. But what part do you want me to play in helping to correct this mess?" That's when I heard the six most comforting words I think I've ever heard. "Don't you worry. I got this." Does that give you the chills it gave me? I really hope so because it has brought such a peace into the situation that I cannot explain. Then, just in case I needed confirmation, I saw the facebook post of a friend:
From my friend Honoray's post:
What ever you are facing in this season: "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the lord will be with you." 2 Chronicles 20:17

I don't know what you are facing right now. I do know I am seeing the enemy trying to bring in fear at every opportunity. Division is cropping up with such regularity that it makes my head spin. This isn't just friend against friend, although I'm seeing plenty of's child against parent, husband against wife; those who need to cling to each other most are having a wedge of guilt, distrust, or anger hammered in between them like a wedge used to split wood. But it won't work. Our Father will see to that. I know. I've heard His promise...."Don't you worry. I've got this."

There will be plenty of times when I know God will have me to "stand and fight", but this time I'm taking my hands off the problem and waiting to see the salvation of the Lord. These children are His, not ours. The enemy has messed with the wrong families this time. "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." I trust my Father to take care of it all.

Will you do me a favor and share the victories when they happen? It will encourage us all.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you. May God's blessings overtake you this week. I know I plan to stand still to make it easier for them to catch up to me!

Deuteronomy 28

Blessings on Obedience
1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. 14 So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

GPS and me...

By now it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I am technologically challenged. What you may not know is that compared to my directional abilities, my technology skills make me look like a computer programmer! I am surprised I don't get lost going from my bedroom to the kitchen each morning.

My husband has learned how to help me with my ability to go places by not only printing out detailed maps but also finding land marks to help me on my way. Still I struggle. Today I asked a fellow teacher how to get to his house so I could bring food for their family. He kept speaking some foreign language with words like "Hwy 11" and "589" and "south". Could he not see by the blank look on my face that I had no clue what he was telling me. I kept saying, "You've got to give me Donna directions!" Donna directions give me landmarks and refer to places I have been before! At one point I think he muttered something like, "My word, woman! How do you find your way to work each day?!"

I finally figured out how to get to his house (although since I haven't actually made the trip yet my success is still debatable!) Of course, all this was on my mind as I drove home. I thought perhaps I should overcome my technology handicap and purchase the one day GPS for my phone that gives me verbal directions. I have actually used this a couple of times before. It only costs 99 cents for the day and gives me the assurance that I can find my way despite my inability to recognize north from south. I could get the package that covers the entire month for only $4.99, but since I rarely go anywhere unfamiliar there was no need for more than one day. That's when it hit me. 

I play it safe....and I think God is nudging me to move outside my comfort zone. 

Don't get me wrong. I have done some travel. I went with a mission team to Lickskillet, Alabama doing some tornado relief a few years back. (My job was primarily hauling limbs from the chicken yard so the family could get the chickens back inside the fence. What can I say? I'm skilled labor.) I have also traveled to Cambodia. Yes, the country. But on both trips I didn't have to do any of the navigation. I simply followed.

There is a lot to be said for following. I'm good at it. I absolutely love the freedom that comes with someone else being in charge! I get to just be me. (Watching the face of those in charge who have to keep up with me is pretty fun, too. I'm not sure my pastor will EVER take me out of the country again!)

But today as I drove along I got the feeling that it's time for me to start venturing out of my comfort zone of knowing where everything is and start venturing out into the unknown. There is not really any fear in this because I can always use my GPS. Only this GPS is God's Positioning System....and He knows exactly where He wants me to go. 

This could get interesting. I'm not really what you'd call an adventurer; I tend to be more of a homebody. But whether physically or spiritually, it's time to move into new territory.  If you see me looking confused along the way, just remind me to listen to my GPS and I will be just fine.

See you on the road.

Psalm 37:23(NKJV)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.

Psalm 25:12

Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


This came up in a conversation tonight, so I did the most logical thing...I created a meme. LOL! Now to just tape it up where I can see it and be reminded of it until it finally sinks in.

God loves us more than we realize...and as hard as it is to believe, he loves our children even more than we do.

What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. Luke 12:6-7, MSG

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers...Malachi 4:6

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's just so Jr. High!

In honor of the first week of school, a re-post from a few years back...

I am one of the lucky few in the world. I actually get to spend at least 8 hours of every day smack dab in the middle of Jr. High. I can almost hear you gasp in amazement. I know, you are jealous. You wish YOU could spend each day knee deep in drama, hormones, pimple cream and books. It's almost like living in a green house of emotions! Nothing is ever minor. It's just one big life crisis after another. It's just so - Jr. High!

Truthfully, I don't think I've ever met anyone who would willingly go back to their life during the Jr. High years. Just the mention of the words are enough to make grown men shudder and seemingly confident women break out is a cold sweat! It's almost as if when they escaped that time period they were set free! The one thing they knew was that they NEVER wanted to go back.
I recently asked my students what were the toughest parts of being in Jr. High and the answers ranged from pressure from parents to pressure from friends. They deal with mean girls/guys and tests and tough teachers and fickle friends. They are tired and excited and bored and frightened....sometimes all in the same day. In addition, the expectations of those around them seem to, at times, overwhelm these young teenagers. I think every day must be one constant battle of learning who they are and what they can and cannot do. They feel more grown up than they are and yet at times lapse back into being just a kid. They try to wrap their minds around lessons in math, language, history, computers and science all while juggling moods that can be far more frightening than the Tower of Terror roller coaster ride. Oh, and just to make things more interesting,  they are surrounded by hundreds of others dealing with the very same things. Oh yeah, Jr. High is one wonderful/rough place to be.
So often I want to tell my students to just hang in there. Jr. High is NOT the real world. It will be over soon! Yes, they may be dealing with difficult people, even difficult teachers, but it won't last forever. Before they realize it, it will be over and they will move on. The things that seem so huge today won't even be a blip on the radar of their lives in a few years.
And then I heard it. That nudging voice of the Lord inside me saying "That's what I've been trying to tell you." I am still stunned when I think of the simplicity of those words because right then it hit's all just "Jr. High."
The things I am dealing with, which may be tough, are still really just a stage of life. They will pass far more quickly than I realize and I'll move on. My goal is heaven...that's what's really real. Everything else is just Jr. High. Once we reach heaven, we'll be able to look back and see just how Jr. High it really was. We'll see things we wished we'd known then that we know now. We'll see places where we were doing better than we thought, and we'll see things we wish we could have changed. We'll realize we were surrounded by others who were going through their own Jr. High. Mostly, we'll look back and realize - we don't want to ever go back!
Life is definitely much better now than it was in Jr. High....and that gives me hope. If my life now, even with all it's trials, is that much better than Jr. High; then how much more wonderful must heaven be?
For me, this has been such an eye opener. Almost every day, I find myself laughing and saying, "It's all just Jr. High." Graduation day is going to be something else!
1 Corinthians 13:12 (Amplified Bible)
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].

Friday, August 7, 2015

Letting go of how....

I am a fixer. When I see a problem, it is my first response to try and figure out how I can help or make things "right" again. In my defense, I am a teacher and "fixing" things is what we are expected to do. When a child struggles, it's our job to figure out how to re-mediate or fix the problem so that the child can succeed. So I have a double hit - as both a woman and a teacher I feel like somehow it is my responsibility to fix pretty much everything around me.

Then I became a mom and while at first I thought I had a handle on this parenting thing, the longer I did it the less I realized I knew...and the less I seemed to be able to "fix." 

When they were little, I was somehow able to deal with the skinned knees, the temper tantrums or even the struggles with school. After all, I was bigger than them and their mom so of course it was my job to "fix" it all. Now that they are adults (or close to it) the less and less I seem to know. In fact, the only thing I now know is that I don't know much at all! And yet still I try to fix....

I recently heard a message by Priscilla Shirer where she was talking about the children of Israel facing the Red Sea and it really hit home. Like the Israelites, I have felt lately as a parent like I am facing some insurmountable obstacles and the enemy is getting ready to completely do me in. I heard the Word of the Lord to stand still and see His deliverance, and while I believe Him, I also started trying to figure out HOW He could do it. I started to try to "help" God and figure out HOW He was going to fix this mess.

Perhaps He wanted me to take some wood and build a raft and help carry my family across. Maybe He planned for me to kill the Egyptians with unbelievable strength as I displayed my skills in hand to hand combat.  Maybe He would give me the funds to build a bridge and somehow delay the enemy long enough for me to build the first bridge to ever cross a sea. I bet He has planned to send someone to convince my enemy that they are wrong to try and destroy my family. The one thing that probably DIDN'T occur to them was that the sea would completely part from the other side and not only would it make a path wide enough for my family and friends to cross over, my sandals wouldn't sink into the fact they might even get a little dusty as I walk across on dry ground. 

Nope...that never occurred to me. My mind just couldn't wrap around that "how."

C.S. Lewis once said, "I gave in and admitted that God was God," and if I could add my own part to that, "and He doesn't need my help to figure out HOW to fix things." My job is to simply STAND and trust that no matter how it looks, God can be trusted to do what He promised.

With my children, this can be hard to believe. After all, I love them more than life itself and I honestly do want what is best for them. I find God's promises for my family and then I do my best to try and figure out HOW those promises will come to pass (and what I need to do to hurry along the process.) And the results are worry and fear. That doesn't sound much like a God kind of life to me.

Then the other day I felt like I heard what God was saying to me. "Let go of HOW and just trust that I am true to the promises made to you." 

I have said before that my children don't belong to me - they never have. I'm not talking about the fact that they are adopted. Even if they had been born to me, they still would not belong to me. They are His children. I love them with every part of me...and yet God loves them more. I only want the best for them and will do my best to provide...and yet God KNOWS what is best for them and has far more provision than I could ever have. I may think I know how to "fix" things, but all I have is some duct tape and band-aids. He can make things completely new.

So I am learning to let go of HOW and learning to just stand and watch as God parts the Red Sea in front of me. It may not look like anything is happening, and at times it looks like I will only watched the dreams I once had be destroyed, but the wind is blowing and that sea is parting and the enemy that is breathing down my neck I will "see no more forever." My job is to stand on His promise and trust in Him.

Will the victory look like I thought it would? Probably not...that's okay. God fixes things much better than I ever could. I look forward to one day being able to share the story with my descendents of HOW God parted the Red Sea and I was there to see it!

Exodus 14 (The Message) (Emphasis mine)
10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!
They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”
13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.
14 God will fight the battle for you.
    And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.
17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”
19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.
22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.
The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”
26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”
27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It is (still) well....

* I wrote this two years ago today, and in His faithfulness and mercy, when I needed it most, God brought it across my screen again to remind me - He is in control and more than able to keep that which I committed to Him.

Today I had the privilege of seeing my oldest child, my daughter, be baptized. I wanted to say awesome privilege or amazing privilege or precious privilege but none of these words come close to what I felt. A new beginning for my child, this child, for which I prayed....

My daughter made a decision when she was a small child, but in the years since....well, let's just say they have been rocky at times to put things mildly. I would watch her over the years and realize something was missing. I wanted to "fix" things, but I just couldn't.

Diagnosed with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome when she was about 10 years old, this sweet child had 3 holes in her heart that could have caused her death. Thankfully God allowed us to "catch" it and she had surgery that repaired those holes. She was declared "healed - as though it never happened." The doctor told us we didn't even have to put it on medical records because it was as if those "holes" had never existed. I was so thankful, but while I knew her physical heart was now healed, her spiritual heart still seemed to have holes in it...and I didn't know what to do.

I prayed. I gave her back to God...over and over again. I watched as she made decisions that hurt both her and those around her. And I was helpless to do a thing.

Then this summer at camp, my daughter made a decision to give her "heart" to Christ. SHE made the decision, not as a child, but as an adult. She made that trip to the cross...and she was made whole. She came back and let our pastor know she wanted to be baptized. Today was that day.

I admit my eyes filled with tears when I saw her up there, but I'm not a really "emotional" type. Well, that was true until after the baptism when we sang the old hymn, "It is well with my soul."

When we sang the part, "My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"
,  my heart and eyes both filled to overflowing.

I think there is only one feeling in the world more overwhelming than knowing that your sin is nailed to the cross and you bear it no more. It is that your child's sin is nailed to the cross and she no longer has to bear the weight of it in her life. She can go forward into her life FREE! That is the most precious feeling I know.

I've always known that Samantha was not mine. Oh, I don't mean because she is adopted. She didn't belong to her birth mother either. She belongs to God. And now...SHE has decided that she belongs to Him with all her heart...a heart made whole in Him. She is declared "healed" through Christ - as though it never happened.

While she will always be my daughter, she is now so much more. The "holes" have been filled by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...and it is well with my soul.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.